Wintersun
Wintersun


5.0
classic

Review

by A.K. USER (66 Reviews)
November 17th, 2007 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


This is one of those rare albums that only happens once or twice a year. Something where you just think "wow, where did this come from?". Before 2004 there was absolutely no indication that this band would ever form, even though it had been in the works for almost a good 10 years. I was lucky enough to discover Wintersun back in the summer 2004, before the album release, on a sampler with the track "Sleeping Stars". I remember thinking how is it that a band this good is completely unknown to me and that I've never heard mention of them before. I could simply not believe that this was the first album of what was virtually a solo project.

Anyway, these days Wintersun is well known in the metal community. The line-up has been augmented by Norther and Imperanon members, and there is a pretty respectable fanbase around the world. There are so many styles displayed on this album that it is no wonder that it was a ten year effort. There are also so many intricacies and small details in the music that three years later, I am still hearing small synth parts in the background on certain songs. This album has that much depth. There is such a high replay value on this album that it almost forgives the fact that the new CD has been delayed almost 2 years.

The main style of the music is fast and melodic metal with harsh vocals. But one should not that there are also excellent clean vocals, folk influences, black metal (though minimal), and progressive influences. A quick breakdown of the styles you will encounter on the tracks -

Beyond the Dark Sun - fast, aggressive, melodic
Winter Madness - fast, progressive, somewhat folky
Sleeping Stars - slow, melancholic, folky, epic
Battle Against Time - fast, aggressive, almost vikingish at times
Death and the Healing - slow, melodic, clean vocals
Starchild - progressive, technical, epic
Beautiful Death - heavy, blackened influence, ambient (ending)
Sadness and Hate - slow, folky, heavy, melodic

You only get a small sense from the above list about how varied the album truly is. One need only look at the solos in Winter Madness, Death and the Healing, and Battle Against Time to see what a great lead guitarist/soloist Jari is (the sweep picking is inhumanly clean!). The genius of his songwriting and structures are seen on songs like Sleeping Stars and Starchild, where there is a longer story told in the songs, with tons of riffs that still form a coherent song. Other songs will show off Jari's vocals, be it the cleans on Death and the Healing and Sadness and Hate, or the harsh ones in Winter Madness and Beautiful Death. It would be fair to say that this cd displays mastery of vocals and guitar work in the metal genre. Did I mention that Jari also played synth and bass in addition?

The drumming is just as fantastic. When technical skill is called for, Kai Hahto delivers on all fronts, however he also has the restraint to never let the drums get in the way, especially on slower parts. The entire kit is used on almost every song, with so many good fills to transition between riffs that the flow of the album is completely flawless. The production is also great on this album. Very clear, but now so clear that it feels sterile. It is still dirty enough to make song s like Beautiful Death work, but still clean enough to make the guitar solos sound great. Mixing is also great, as I mentioned, there are many less important melodies and lines that can be heard in the background that are not very apparent at first, but after several listens are a nice enhancement and definitely help the replay value.

The style is itself hard to describe. Think Stratovarius meets Ensiferum meets Moonsorrow meets Yngwie Malmsteen. The riffs are generally very melodic with nice harmonies and several different guitar lines. Synth plays a small role, either backing the melodies with strings and choir, or doubling the lead guitar to create a different texture. The songs tend to follow a verse and chorus structure, but on several songs the verse and chorus riff never repeat, but are one continuous melody. On others the riffs are repeated but either have variations made to them or build up so that there is always something new happening. Interestingly, the end of Sadness and Hate is also a synth medley of several melodies from throughout the CD, a very good way of ending the CD.

My pick for CD of the year 2004.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
November 17th 2007


3742 Comments


I liked this review. Short yet to the point. We probably didn't need another one of these, but good review nonetheless.
The album's fucking killer, too.

BallsToTheWall
November 17th 2007


44482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review and enjoyed the song description part, pretty cool. Excellent album as well.

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

Yazz_Flute
November 17th 2007


18787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very nice review.

This was my first metal album with harsh vocals (barring Avenged Sevenfold) and maybe thats why i love it so fucking much. Without this album, i wouldnt listen to the music i listen too today.

Beautiful Death is still my favorite song, and is one of my favorites ever. It gives me chills everytime i listen to it.

Digging: Finch (US) - Say Hello to Sunshine

SylentEcho
November 18th 2007


1570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album sounds like Enisferum to me.

Yazz_Flute
November 18th 2007


18787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

In a sense, it is. But it's much harsher, and colder sounding. Not as triumphant. This is better though, way better.

These songs for the most part are much longer also.

SynGates
November 18th 2007


2467 Comments


Great review.
I like this and Ensiferum's self titled about the same. I wish Time would be released soon

Wizard
November 18th 2007


19443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is one of those rare albums that only happens once or twice a year. Something where you just think "wow, where did this come from?"

Exactly what I thought when I heard this at the beginning of 2007. A nice, concise review. You summed up all the details on this album perfectly.

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

rattlehead42147
November 18th 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this album is so overrated its not even funny. good review though.

Thor
November 18th 2007


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is fucking phenomenal. Just short of a classic.

Eakflanderyof
November 18th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is not overrated at all. I've comtemplated moving my rating to a 5 for a while, but some songs are just really good, but not phenomenal. Beautiful Death and Sleeping Stars are phenomenal. There isn't a lackluster song here, though. Most people don't seem to agree with me that Sleeping Stars is one of the best ones, but it's amazing.

Great review although I would have liked to hear more of your opinion on specific songs. You didn't really say which ones you really liked and what not.

I also agree that Jari blends many styles amazingly on this album. I have never understood why people even begin to claim that this is a power metal album.This Message Edited On 11.18.07

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2007


16089 Comments


This is a great album really.

SynGates
November 18th 2007


2467 Comments


Sleeping Stars is most fantastic

Thor
November 18th 2007


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sleeping Stars is the worst song I'd say.

But when I say worst I mean it kicks the least amount of ass.

Silenius
November 18th 2007


305 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sleeping Stars is one of my favorites. I love the atmosphere and the main melody.

Thor
November 18th 2007


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My favorite is either Beautiful Death or Sadness and Hate. Both of those songs are just too epic for their own good.

And the opening vocals to both songs are so good. Can't get enough of Jari's screams!

rattlehead42147
November 18th 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album is not overrated at all. I've comtemplated moving my rating to a 5 for a while, but some songs are just really good, but not phenomenal. Beautiful Death and Sleeping Stars are phenomenal. There isn't a lackluster song here, though. Most people don't seem to agree with me that Sleeping Stars is one of the best ones, but it's amazing.

i'll admit there aren't many bad songs on here but the album kind of got old for me. i gave a pretty honest rating though, i'll give credit to the musicianship for sure.


Eakflanderyof
November 18th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ That's cool. I've just been kind of the opposite. It grew on me with every listen, but I could see someone getting tired of it.

Silenius
November 18th 2007


305 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review although I would have liked to hear more of your opinion on specific songs. You didn't really say which ones you really liked and what not.


I personally don't like giving too much of my opinion in reviews, I try to describe the overall sound and give a general picture of why I like or dislike the CD.

Wizard
November 18th 2007


19443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I personally thought they sucked when I first listened to them. Now look at my rating since I got this at the beginning of the year. Favourite tracks (in no order):

1. Battle Against Time
2. Winter Madness
3. Beautiful Death
4. Beyond the Dark Sun (the intro riff to this album is....words cannot describe it).



Eakflanderyof
November 18th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My Favorites in order:

1. Beautiful Death (one of the greatest songs ever written, it's perfect)

2. Sleeping Stars (what Silenius said about it)

3. Battle Against Time (the main guitar riff and viking vocals kick ass)

4. Death and the Healing (awesome and catchy)

5. Starchild (the fast keyboard part near the beginning is awesome)

6. Winter Madness (guitar solo and keyboard part afterwards kick so much ass, though)

7. Beyond the Dark Sun (this one kinda grew off of me a little bit over time, but the intro is still phenomenal)

8. Sadness and Hate (some excellent melodies to be had, but some of it is just okay)





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